Glasgow & West Scotland

Record attendance for Glasgow's Celtic Connections

Transatlantic Sessions on stage Image copyright Gaelle Beri
Image caption Transatlantic Sessions playing at the Royal Concert Hall

Celtic Connections drew to a close on Sunday night with record audience figures during its 18-day programme.

The traditional music festival celebrated 25 years with 130,000 people attending more than 350 events.

Venues across Glasgow welcomed more than 2,300 artists from over 30 countries on 28 stages.

One of the highlights was Bothy Culture and Beyond at the SSE Hydro, featuring street trials cyclist Danny MacAskill.

Image caption Danny MacAskill on stage at the SSE Hydro with Bothy Culture and Beyond

The concert was performed by the GRIT Orchestra and also featured Scottish aerial dance company All or Nothing.

The performance was filmed by BBC Scotland, using more cameras than a royal wedding.

Entertainment included a mixture of concerts, talks, workshops, film screenings, ceilidhs, art exhibitions, free events and late night sessions.

'Economic cheer'

Celtic Connections began 25 years ago as a series of concerts celebrating music from the Celtic nations.

Councillor David McDonald is chairman of event organisers Glasgow Life.

He said: "There is nothing that compares to Celtic Connections and it is a huge part of our year-round cultural calendar, providing much needed entertainment and economic cheer to the city during the darkest winter months.

"Our first 25 years have seen the festival grow into a world-beater and I can't wait to see what is to come as we move forward with the city's musical ambitions."

Image copyright Gaelle Beri
Image caption Blazin Fiddles on stage at the Royal Concert Hall
Image copyright Gaelle Beri
Image caption Highland quintet Elephant Sessions playing at The Old Fruitmarket
Image copyright Gaelle Beri
Image caption The Old Fruitmarket was one of 28 stages hosting the festival

The Glasgow based festival is now eligible for a share of the Scottish government's Edinburgh Festivals Expo Fund and plans are already under way for next year.

Artistic director Donald Shaw confirmed that in future years his role will focus on developing more of the special commissions, major one-off shows and unique creative collaborations.

He said: "Now that the Scottish government Expo Fund has been opened up to us it is important that we make the most of this opportunity to develop more of the unique collaborations and one-off shows that the festival has become so well known for."

Celtic Connections 2019 will run from Thursday 17 January to Sunday 3 February 2019.

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